2017 Year in Review
Twenty-Seventeen brought tears of joy and sadness and quite a bit of worry…different than any year before. We rang in the New Year expecting a baby girl in the spring. I continued frequent doctor appointments, as I was my physician’s low risk high-risk patient. We celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary in February. I turned 40 a few days before delivering a healthy baby girl, on April 15th, the day before Easter, weighing 7 pounds and 3 ounces and 19 inches long. Our little miracle was an answer, to many prayers. God is faithful. I had a difficult delivery but mended well. Those first few months were rough, as with any other new parent living on little sleep. We were very thankful for my mom coming to stay with us for two weeks to help us with the baby. My mother-in-law was also available to help, too.
Four days after the baby came, my dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer, and my mom was here with us. Then there was a waiting game…for insurance…for a treatment plan…for test results…and much worry…and much prayer. The whole family was together at the lake for Memorial Day weekend and dad water-skied for the first time in 15+ years and at the ripe age of 74. A few days later he started daily radiation treatments that he went to Monday through Friday, each week, for 25 treatments. The biggest side effect was fatigue. On August 3rd, he had surgery to place radioactive seeds that will basically put off radiation for the next 6 months (he has to wear a leaded blanket when he holds the grandkids). Overall, he seems to be doing well. He hasn’t slowed down much. His PSA levels have been zero, which is the goal…praise the Lord.
In July, my husband, stepson, daughter, and I spent a week, at the lake, with my parents. The first time we have ever stayed more than a few days, there. The guys enjoyed hiking (although they got caught in a downpour and returned without a stitch of dry clothing on them). Kirby also enjoyed taking Ethan to his first drive-in movie. Delaney and I enjoyed extra time with Kaye-Kaye & Paw-Paw. We enjoyed seeing sights around the area. We visited The Wild Flower Café in Mentone, Alabama, and enjoyed the quaint atmosphere and their “Alabama Shakes” playlist.
I was on maternity leave April and May. I worked a little bit in June and none in July. My job contract did not get renewed and as of right now, I am a stay-at-home mom, which had not been in my original plans. I had planned to return to work and my mother-in-law had planned to keep the baby. It’s funny how God works things out according to his plans. We are thankful that we had not signed a daycare contract and we are still able to call on Granny to keep the baby when I do work. I was able to join the local MOPS group, which is Mother of Preschoolers. My former church home is the host church, because of that, I was very familiar with the MOPS organization thinking that I would never get to participate because I have always worked…but God had a different plan.
We continued to roll along in the year…and then comes November. My husband jokingly calls it “The Month of the Gall Bladder.” He went hiking the first weekend of the month, leaving on Saturday morning and returning Sunday evening. It was our turn to cook for our small group. I managed to cook a meal for 14 people and we only had about 5-6 to come. I picked up my stepson and took him to youth group (at the church) and dropped off the baby for childcare, on time. Then, after small group, I loaded up everything, and returned to the church to pick up the kids, dropped Ethan off at his mom’s and returned home.
By this time, my husband had made it home. We got the baby in the bed and all was well, or was it? I had eaten a good bit for dinner…knowing that overeating was not a great idea. I was not 100% sure that I had been having gall bladder attacks but the symptoms seemed to match up, overeating was one of my triggers, eating iceberg lettuce with water, seemed to be a trigger as well. I definitely was having an episode starting a few hours after I had eaten, as usual, and continuing for a couple of hours, which is when it usually lets up but on this occasion, it did not let up. I continued with abdominal discomfort into the night, even after I had gone to bed and my husband was asleep, I had not slept. After contemplating going to the ER or waiting until morning and having to get in to see a doctor, finally, I decided that I needed to go to the ER. At 2am, I woke my husband up and told him that I thought I needed to go to the ER. He said, “Do you want me to get up?” I waited a few seconds, and finally said, “yes.” So, we both got up and got dressed. I grabbed my cell phone charger and a jacket, packed the diaper bag, and my husband got the baby up and put her in the car seat and off we went to the ER. The ER clerk asked me if we were checking in the baby, I said, “No, me.” I was called to the back, by 3:15am (we arrived approximately at 3am). I told them what I thought it was. The ER doctor didn’t think the area of my pain sounded like gall bladder…but they ordered an ultrasound anyway and it came back clearly that my gall bladder was inflamed and needed to come out. The worst pain was referred nerve pain to my shoulder. I went back for surgery around 9:00am Monday morning, November 6th. I stayed in the hospital two nights and went home and was not allowed to pick up the baby for two weeks. My mom came to stay. A week into my recovery, I felt good and things were going well, I thought. Until, I woke up in the middle of the night not feeling well at all. My mom was up with the baby, and I decided to take a pain pill and go back to bed. I woke up the next morning with the same abdominal discomfort and nerve pain in both shoulders…gradually getting worse. My husband took me back to the ER on Sunday morning, November 12th, where, I laid in severe excruciating pain, for 12 hours (I was the one screaming, “Help me, Jesus!” in the ER.), while they ran every test under the sun, and pumped me full of pain medication and antibiotics (white blood count was out of whack). I had told them I had had my gall bladder out on Monday, November 6th. Finally, the partner of my surgeon came in and ruled out everything that they had previously thought and confirmed that I had a bile leak, as a direct result of my first surgery. The gall bladder is attached to the liver and they have to cut it away from the liver. Statistics show that 10% of the patients who have their gall bladder out also have a bile leak (Lucky me, I was in the 10%). They had to take me back to surgery, this time emergency (9pm) to repair a hole in my liver. I came out of surgery with a drain tube that stayed in for 10 days. I stayed in the hospital overnight. This recovery was much slower and took much more out of me. Bless my mom’s sweet heart she stayed a few more days, then she went home and bless granny’s heart, she came at 5:30am each morning before Kirby went to work (because I still couldn’t lift the baby, two weeks turned into three). Mom and dad both returned 5 days later to celebrate Thanksgiving with us (their original plans). I had the drain tube removed the same day they came, which caused severe pain all over again, with no medication. They said, I could go home and pick the baby up but instead I had to lie down when I got home. I was on the mend from then on. I am 95% well as of today, January 1st, and I still have some discomfort when I am real active, which they say is normal.
All of the family went home to Alabama to Mom & Dad’s for Christmas. We attended my uncle’s funeral, which was sad and unexpected but we know he’s in a better place and we will see him again, one day. We saw family and extended family at the funeral. The following day was Christmas Eve and on Sunday morning and my dad wanted to go to church so we all got up and went to church, packing two pews, starting a new family tradition. That night, we had our traditional “Hames family” gathering at Noccalula Falls campground (Haney Hall) and my brother got to come for the first time in so many years. He ended up spending the night with us at our parents and mom and dad had all of their children under one roof.
On Christmas morning, we got up, too early, for Santa Clause, but it could have been much earlier, and opened presents, ate breakfast, and enjoyed each other’s company. My brother went home after breakfast and picked up his kids that afternoon, and to our surprise, returned Christmas night and stayed two more nights, with us. Kirby got up and took Ethan back to Mississippi, on the 26th, and returned to Alabama, on the 27th, where we enjoyed time together with after Christmas shopping while my mom kept the baby. We stayed a few more days and returned home to Mississippi, on December 29th. There has been much time spent with my parents in 2017, and I loved every minute of it.
What a blessed holiday season for us! We can only pray for a prosperous New Year! Wishing you the best in 2018!
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